Confessions of a Christian Troublemaker

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“I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest; but trouble comes” (Job 3:26 NRS).



(Image courtesy of thetroublemakerclub.wordpress.com)

I am troublemaker.  I am a Christian.  Many would prefer to think these are mutually exclusive terms, but I embody them both.  Like this verse from the Book of Job, I have discovered that I am not at ease and I am not quiet, because I am a Christian.  I am called to be discontent with the ways of the world for they are not the ways of God.  I am called to be vocal about my faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  While I do not stand out on the street corner and preach damnation or go from door to door to convert people, I am very loud in my pastorate, my pulpit, and my personal blog.  Like Job, I have no rest, because the spirit of the Lord stirs within me when I see injustice, hatred, religious apathy, and a myriad of other sinful states of humanity.  When I am not at ease, not quiet, and not at rest, I find that I am trouble.  I trouble other people who want to be blissfully content.  They want to be unaware.  They wish to remain unenlightened to the state of the world and the call of Jesus Christ to be an active participant in the renewal of this world.

Trouble comes, not from outside, but from within.  I ask the hard questions.  I search for the answers.  I want to be in conversation.  I will not keep quiet.  I have lofty expectations.  I have high goals.  I demand accountability of myself and others.  I require more than a verbal commitment.  I pursue action.  I think that I am probably much like Jesus.  He challenged the accepted authority of his time.  He asked the unasked questions of the Pharisees.  He called people to a greater accountability to the law.  He reinterpreted their faith for them in order that they might turn from their ways.  He demanded nothing less than faith in action from his disciples.  He refused to back down, acquiesce, or compromise on the Gospel.  He was known to be a troublemaker. 

He was rejected by his home town of Nazareth.  The people tried to throw him off a cliff and ran him out of town (Luke 4:28-29).  His own people rejected him for claiming to be God’s Son and threatened to stone him to death (John 10:33).  When he overturned the tables of moneychangers in the Temple, he alienated the priests and they were determined to have him killed (Mark 11:18).  Jesus was not a docile lamb, except for when he turned himself over into the hands of the authorities to be killed.  He lived his life with fire and with faith ferocious as a lion.  He was someone to fear because of the truth of his words and the conviction of his heart.  He inspired people and, in doing so, drove others to stand against him.  Did not Job’s faith, inspire God to remark about him while drawing the suspicion of Satan?  Are we to think that we who are Christians should be any different?

When Christianity is at its best, it is a religion of troublemakers.  Those who refuse to be blind to the poor.  Those who reject the idea that widow and the orphan are someone else’s problem.  Those who do not hide their faith behind closed doors.  Those who do not implicitly condone the sinful ways of a society that prizes the materialism of this world over the well being of the people that comprise it.  Those who refuse to go quietly into the night, but rail against injustice and sin.  We are closest to Christ when we are willing to stir the water.  After all, we serve a Lord who waded into the water, was baptized, and then walked upon it in triumph.  As the African American spiritual goes:

Wade in the water.
Wade in the water, children.
Wade in the water.
God’s gonna trouble the water.

Prayer:
O Lord,
Help us to find our voice.
May we be willing to be uneasy, disquieted, and unrested.
Let us wade into the waters of this world,
And expect nothing less than for you to trouble it.
When we become too content,
We compromise the Gospel for which your Son died.
Let nothing prevent us from following him.
If he commands us to walk on those waters,
Let us go with the faith that you will not let us drown.
By water, we are baptized.
By water, we are ritually cleansed.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
We speak the truth in love.
By your grace, we trouble the waters,
So that the whole world will see that Jesus is Lord.
Faith begins with a ripple,
Let it spread to the ends of the earth.
All honor and glory to you, Almighty God.
Amen.

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